TV: to entertain and to educate?
Quite some time ago I did a Freedom of Information request to find out which TV channels the other high-security prisons were allowing. Unsurprisingly, this prison’s TV channel provision was woeful in comparison. Plus, when I was at HMP Edinburgh in 2010, they had all the freeview channels.
A decade later and the this prison is dragging its lumbering carcass, kicking and screaming into the 21st century. We’ve now got BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky News, Film 4, Sony Movies, ITV 4, E4, ITV 2, Quest, More 4, Dave, Yesterday, 5 USA, 5 Star, Blaze, ITV Be(!) and 4 Music.
I’m sure most of these channels satisfy the needs of the majority – the X Factor, Love Island generation – but there is a dearth of anything of educational or cultural significance. I’m finding that, as I get older, there is less and less of any interest on TV. What about BBC4 or another movie channel? There’s the odd drama (Line of Duty, The Bodyguard – usually BBC2), comedy (Young Sheldon, Motherland, Brooklyn 99) or documentary, but it’s mostly trash TV. I can’t remember it being like that when I was a kid. Maybe I’m over – romanticising TV from the eighties – I used to love the ‘The Tube’.
Be happy, be safe and be kind.
Graham Coutts, 1st April 2020